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Album review: Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn, String Quartets – Quatuor Ebène (Virgin Classics)

The line between tenderness and melancholy is smudged in Felix Mendelssohn's youthful String Quartet No 2 in A minor.

Quatuor Ebène's subtle performance seems designed to frame the darker soundworld of Fanny Mendelssohn's E-flat major Quartet in the best light. Felix's F-minor Quartet served as a requiem to Fanny. In an otherwise understated recording, there is a touch of exaggeration in the second movement, sharpness too. Grief can be ugly.